California appoints itself guardian of the moon
It's not in California, it's not even on planet Earth, but that hasn't prevented the California State Historical Resources Commission from claiming the Apollo 11 landing site a state historical resource.
The aim of the decision is to protect more than 100 items left behind by US astronauts. As well as scientific instruments and the bottom stage of the lander, they include tools, the US flag, and even bags of astronaut-crap.
The justification for the designation is that a number of California companies worked on the Apollo landing, and that the results of their labours were therefore of historical value to the state.
"It can be reasonably argued that the success of the Apollo 11 mission, which produced the Tranquility Base site, would not have
occurred were it not for the contributions of the research, development, and testing, and the mission operations, that occurred in the State of California," says the Commission.
The designation reads rather like an upmarket real estate brochure.
"The property is situated in the Mare Tranquillitatis region of the Moon. The boundary of the property is inclusive of the areas noted on the Sketch Map and in the Continuation Sheet and measures approximately 60 meters northwest/southeast by approximately 60 meters southwest/northeast," it says.
"The boundaries are established based on the maximum extent of lunar surface exploration by Apollo 11 and its crew and the approach (ascent and descent pathways)."
The ultimate aim is apparently to designate the site as a United Nations World (yes, we know) Heritage Site. Other US states are believed to be considering similar applications.
It's not known whether the Commission's park rangers will start patrolling the site any time soon.